Pakistan has ratified a draft agreement that allows the government to provide troops for security at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended an invitation to Qatar for investment opportunities in his country’s energy and aviation sectors, during a meeting with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in Doha on Tuesday.
Sharif visited Qatar earlier on Tuesday in an effort to secure trade and investments for his nation, Reuters reported.
He intended to draw attention to industries like renewable energy, food security, the expansion of businesses and infrastructure, tourism, and hospitality.
“The Prime Minister invited the Qatari businessmen to invest in Pakistan’s energy, aviation, agriculture and livestock, maritime, tourism and hospitality sectors,” a statement from Sharif’s office said, according to Reuters.
Sharif is expected to address liquified natural gas (LNG) supply shortages as the new administration in Islamabad tries to navigate through an economic crisis, with energy prices already soaring in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sharif found himself in a gasoline crisis-hit Pakistan that has resulted in blackouts in several areas of the nation. Pakistan also faces a balance of payment crisis as its foreign reserves have fallen as low as $7.8 billion.
Qatar is also set to provide $2 billion in bilateral assistance to Pakistan in a bid to alleviate the South Asian country’s financing shortages and its consequent risk of a default, a top official said.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will each also contribute $1 billion to Pakistan’s oil industry, Bloomberg reported, citing State Bank of Pakistan’s Acting Governor, Murtaza Syed.
The financial assurances also come ahead of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting on 29 August that could potentially result in the disbursement of $1.2 billion worth of loans.
Arab countries had only agreed to help the South Asian nation once it secured an IMF programme, “while the Washington-based lender has been seeking a commitment from Saudi Arabia,” the report detailed.
The Pakistani government has also chosen to offer Qatar a 51% stake in New York’s Roosevelt Hotel and the country’s national airlines.
Pakistan is expected to sell Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) shares in order to give over administration of the national flag carrier to Qatar or the UAE also on a G2G basis. Reports suggest the Islamabad Airport could also be handed over to one of the two nations for management.
“PIA has been running into huge losses for a long time and it will be sane to hand over its management to either Qatar or the UAE. And the Islamabad airport is also not running efficiently,” Syed said.
Reports have also been surfacing about Pakistan potentially pursuing a 15-year LNG deal with Qatar on a G2G (government to government) basis that includes two cargoes per month with a reopening price clause after 11 years, according to a senior coalition government official’s statement to The News last week.
Islamabad has two long-term LNG supply deals with Qatar to provide up to nine cargoes a month.
“We will surely seek any facility of deferred payments on our LNG deals,” an aide to Sharif told Reuters, further noting that the South Asian country was also looking to secure backing for its foreign reserves amounting to nearly $2 billion.